As August turns to September, the pressure on AL Central teams grows. Here’s how each team dealt with the atmosphere last week:
Indians: As they try to catch the front-runners, Cleveland third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall has challenged each of his teammates to grow a “Rally Mustache” during September. “If somebody wears one that probably shouldn’t have a mustache, it really helps,” Chisenhall said. Jason Kipnis, for instance, “has the whole, like, ‘I drive a Harley’ look going on.”
Royals: Manager Ned Yost didn’t mean to pick a fight. He just wanted more fans to enjoy a rare winner in Kansas City. But his comments after only 13,847 attended KC’s walk-off win over the Twins on Tuesday, that “I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t,” whipped up a controversy. “I wasn’t criticizing the fans,” Yost said the next day. “I want them to enjoy this as much as we’re enjoying it.”
Tigers: His first season in Detroit hasn’t gone as planned for former Twins closer Joe Nathan, who has blown six saves and owns a 5.25 ERA. So he decided to handle the growing criticism with humor. Nathan taped a video last week of him reading Twitter posts from some of his harshest critics, showing he’s keeping his sense of humor. “You’ve heard of ‘Shoeless Joe’?” read one tweet from a Tigers fan. “Nathan is ‘Useless Joe.’ ”
White Sox: While not involved in a pennant race, Chicago’s players took a break from their season on Wednesday to mingle with the players of Jackie Robinson West, the group of south side ballplayers who won the U.S. Little League championship. The team’s victory parade stopped at U.S. Cellular Field, where the big-leaguers paid tribute to the youngsters. “Maybe this pushes kids into our game, instead of something else,” first baseman Paul Konerko said.